Happy Bones Coffee Shop
Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design (GVID) and UM Project (UM) have completed the design of Happy Bones, a boutique coffee shop re-opening at a new location at 394 Broome Street in Soho, New York City.
“Born in NZ. Founded in NY. The islands of New Zealand are a long way from the island of Manhattan but that’s where the four founders of Happy Bones got serious about drinking, making and sharing some of the world’s best coffee. With the launch of Happy Bones we’re bringing this passion for incredible coffee and inspiring art, design and music to the most exciting city in the world.” – Happy Bones
If coffee-bar decor has tended toward arts-and-crafts cliché, heavy on nostalgia and reclaimed wood, Happy Bones has hit the reset button. A popup, two years ago, introduced New Yorkers to “flat whites” and “long blacks” as expertly made as they are in New Zealand, where three of the four owners are from. (For the uninitiated, that’s an espresso shot topped by silky steamed milk and an Americano, re spec tively.) The first permanent location, a storefront by Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design, is now gaining additional admirers for its fresh style.
Ghislaine Viñas had only 450 square feet of down-and-dirty concrete-floored space to work with. Previously, it was a meat locker for the butcher shop next door. But she managed to create three distinct zones.
To demarcate the entry, she made it a more intimate archway by dropping the ceiling from 12 feet to 9. Then she surfaced the ceiling and sidewalls in paper digitally printed with an abstract composition in blue, red, and white by one of the owners, an artist who was inspired by the “over-spray” left on the protective cardboard he uses when he’s painting.
The largest zone, the central area, offers café seating. Here, she eliminated color and “paid homage to the industrial rawness of the space,” she says.
A uniform white covers the brick walls and wooden ceiling, highlighting their roughness. Adding airiness is a skylight installed after a boarded-up original was discovered, thrillingly, during the renovation.
At the rear, a canopy appears to lower the ceiling again, a bookend effect. Here is the coffee bar proper, the nerve center of the operation. Conceived like a giant piece of furniture, it’s indeed a collaboration with a furniture designer, UM Project founder François Chambard.
The canopy, a series of sharply angled MDF compartments containing twinkling pendant fixtures, shares its vocabulary with the shelving that covers the back wall. Equally angular but constructed from powder-coated steel and waxed maple, the service counter supports all the coffee-making and customerservice functions. “A machine itself,” Chambard offers. Not to mention that the madly colliding diagonals are as energizing as a shot of caffeine.
- At the entry, Castor Design’s pendant fixtures meet custom wallpaper that Happy Bones co-owner Jason Woodside, an artist, derived from his own spray-painting. The café stocks a rotating selection of art books. Shelving and the canopy over the bar are painted MDF. The café’s steel bench is a holdover from the 2012 pop-up that launched Happy Bones.
- Tom Dixon tables and Alvar Aalto stools gather in the café. Powder-coated aluminum frames the storefront. Custom modules in powder-coated steel or waxed maple join to form the coffee bar’s service counter. A maple pull opens the counter’s gate. This pendant fix- ture by TAF is one of nine overhead.
- Furniture designer François Chambard master- minded the bar’s built-ins.
Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design and UM Project:
The project marks another collaboration between Viñas and Chambard, who have been long-time collaborators. This time combining their vision to create an entire space together which is full of life and personality. The founders envisioned an environment that was bold and soothing with a strong departure from the typical coffee shop look and feel and the combined approach of this team could not have worked better.
GVID brought structure and rhythm to the entire space, with a strong, dynamic energetic approach. The space is graphic and powerful with the ever-surprising use of patterns, colliding lines energy and more subdued tones than what is usually expected of Viñas’ work. Using a simple and dynamic design, the space is structured in three vastly separate areas: the entrance greets people with splashes of colors – its splatter wallpaper by owner and artist Jason Woodside is reminiscent of the eighties; the middle space, a sitting area, gallery and publication display, is treated as raw box which was left in its original state and then given a thick coating of white paint; the back space is where business happens with the counter as center point and a backdrop of geometrically-shaped shelves that suggest more fractals than furniture.
When Happy Bones first imagined the design for their new venture, UM’s style and manufacture felt like the right fit. The UM approach, often described as Industrial Craft, combines cues of the handmade and of the mass-produced and is applied to a broad array of work, including lighting, furniture, musical instruments and recording studios. UM’s design cuts across design and technology, juxtaposing mechanical detailing and essential shapes, evoking timeless analog pieces like a classic turntable, a practical appliance or the simple pleasure of turning on a switch. For Happy Bones, UM has designed and made a counter that is part machine, part console. The result is playful with a no less serious sense of execution—engaging and inviting people to connect and focus on both the feel and the experience—a fundamental feeling shared by Happy Bones.
The Happy Bones project relates a creative conversation between GVID and UM, where both have brought what they do best—interiors and furniture respectively. More than a creative fusion, the process was a constant game of creative back and forth—some kind of design ping pong—where both parts worked relatively independently and have known how to elevate their games from each other’s input and from the vision of their shared clients. A few fundamentals were agreed upon initially, like the choice of materials and colors that translate a sense of industrial sophistication, the soul of New York City and a warm feeling. Such materials include industrial mesh custom perforated panels, blackened steel and wood. The color palette is made of understated grey, white and black, punctuated by bright blue lighting fixtures.
Project name: Happy Bones
Location: 394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013, United States
Coordinates: 40.720722, -73.997111
Type: Cafe / Coffee Shop
Project Area: 40 sqm / 450 sq.ft
Completion Year: 2014
Visit Happy Bones Coffee Shop’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Happy Bones – Mothership
- Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design – 67 Vestry St, New York, NY 10013, United States
- UM Project – 810 Humboldt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222, United States
Project Team: Ghislaine Viñas, François Chambard, Brandon Lenoir, Zoe Hsieh
Text Description: © Courtesy of Happy Bones Coffee Shop, Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design, UM Project, WalkThrough-Jane Margolies
Images: © Happy Bones Coffee Shop, Francis Dzikowski